Big Weekend

05Nov11

Here is Colorado, in addition to having at 2 cross races a week from September – January, we also have two BIG weekends of Cyclocross racing. The USGP weekend in Fort Collings and the Colorado Cross Classic/Boulder Cup weekend. I was unable to make the first of the two big weekends in Fort Collins, so I was extra pumped about this second big weekend in Boulder. It’s amazing having all of the nations best racers converge on your local scene, so I love these big weekends!

My excitement was even higher considering the fact that I came into the weekend sitting in 5th place overall in Colorado Cross Cup standings. I really want to finish at least in 3rd if not higher!

Colorado Cross Classic: Boulder Reservoir
Saturday was the Colorado Cross Classic at the infamous Boulder reservoir. With a nasty snow storm dumping a bunch of snow on Wednesday, the course was a sloppy mess in places. Since much of the course is on the beach of the Boulder Reservoir, the mud was made even more tricky when it was combined with the sandy sections.

I was able to nail the holeshot off the line and control things going into the first lap with my Gates Carbon Drive teammates.

Nailing the start:

Going into the first lap, Jesse Swift, Carlos Casali, Mitch Westall and I controlled things. Mitch took over the lead from me with Jesse Swift to follow and then Carlos and I. I was feeling decent, but I was definitely challenged by the mud, which isn’t something we usually get a lot of around here.

Pushing my way through the mud:

Going into the second lap, we had 6 guys off the front. 5 were from my team, so we were set. Mitch, Jesse and Joe Saperstein (trek bicycle store) got a gap on Carlos, Derek and I, but I was still happy to be racing for the podium. Just as I was settling in, our little group started to get frisky and we all started turning the screws on each other.

Slogging it out on the beach:

Unfortunately, I folded under the pressure and got caught up in the course tape, which opened a gap on me from Carlos and Derek. The rest of the race I was trying in earnest to catch up with them, but to no avail. I held on for 6th. That was ok, but I really would have rather loved to have been in the top 3 or 5. Luckily, this result bumped me into 4th in the Cross Cup standings, so that made me feel a little better.

Boulder Cup: Valmont Bike Park
Sunday was Boulder Cup at the new Valmont Bike Park in Boulder. It’s a pretty amazing park. It’s one of the only permanent cyclocross courses in the country and the scene was great. Tons of big teams and a great expo area. The place was packed when I walked up. Hopefully, this is how more cross races will look in the future in the US. The course was a mix of fast, dry sections, but the backside was a deep muddy mess of the likes I’m not sure I’ve ever seen. A demanding course to say the least! With it being Halloween, it was even more fun. Lots of racing wearing costumes added some good entertainment.

Just like Saturday, I nailed the start and got the holeshot! What a great way to start the race.

Leading out part of the first lap:

I set a fast pace and knew that I had my rock star teammates on my wheel. By the time we came through the start/finish to start the second lap, we had four Gates Carbon Drive riders off the front. Mitch, Jesse (Darth Vader), Taylor Nye and myself. I remember thinking, “hell yeah, here we go”! Nothing feels better than being on than being at the front with no pressure!

Rolling through the start finish off the front with my teammates!

Halfway through the second lap, we hit one of the sandpits. I was feeling great, legs were good and I was having dreams of the podium and climbing up the Colorado Cross Cup standings. Just about at that moment, I lost my momentum in the sandpit and my teammate slammed into the back of my bike. No biggie I thought, but I went to pedal and my belt popped off the rear cog. The impact had dislodged my rear wheel and caused a misalignment that threw my drivetrain. My dreams of the podium vanished in the 3 minutes it took me to get my bike back in working order. I was no in 20th. Uggh.

Working my way back up on the stairs:

I was so crushed! Nothing left to do but fight and fight my way back up front. It was a demoralizing race not only because of the mechanical, but the mud was just unbelievably deep. It was like quick sand on the back side. Riding it was do-able, running it was too, but either way, it hurt!

Digging deep in the mud:

When it was all said and done, I ended up 10th, which considering the debacle the day had become was decent. I was able to limit the damage on my Colorado Cross Cup standings, but unfortunately, on a day that I could have solidified a top 5 standing, I had dropped to 6th. As it stands now, I’m barely still in it to finish in the top 5 and I’ll fight and fight to get that! Despite the disappointment, it’s important for me to remember that the same race last year put me in the hospital and on bed rest, so 10th place isn’t so bad!

Even better, my teammate Mitch won the race and pretty much put a lock on his title hopes for the Colorado Cross Cup and Jesse Swift was on the podium too!

Post race with the winner and my teammate Jesse Swift who doubled as Darth Vader for the Halloween race!

As it stands now, Gates Carbon Drive are holding the top 6 positions in the Colorado Cross Cup singlespeed competition. Not bad!

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